Special Report

Worst States for Women

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16. Wisconsin
> Female earnings as pct. of male earnings: 86.5% (5th highest)
> Female life expectancy at birth: 81.6 years (14th highest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 31.1% (21st highest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 42.1% (18th highest)

Wisconsin has one of the smallest gender pay gaps. Female workers in the state earn 86.5% of what male workers do, the fifth smallest difference in earnings.

Wisconsin women tend to have relatively good health outcomes. The state’s female life expectancy at birth is 81.6 years, compared to 81.2 years for all American women. Also, 95.3% of women in the state have health insurance, the eighth highest insured rate among women of all states in the country.

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17. New Hampshire
> Female earnings as pct. of male earnings: 82.5% (19th highest)
> Female life expectancy at birth: 81.5 years (17th highest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 35.8% (12th highest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 40.5% (15th lowest)

New Hampshire ranks as a better state for women than most, as the health outcomes of the women in the state are among the best in the country. New Hampshire has by far the lowest infant death rate in the country, at 3.2 per 1,000 live births. The national rate is 5.6 deaths per 1,000 live births.

New Hampshire women also have a relatively high life expectancy at birth, at 81.5 years, and 94.5% of women in the state have health insurance. The state also has one of the highest bachelor’s degree attainment rates among female residents 25 and older, at 39.3%, the eighth highest in the nation.

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18. Virginia
> Female earnings as pct. of male earnings: 79.5% (15th lowest)
> Female life expectancy at birth: 81.3 years (22nd highest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 30.0% (24th lowest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 42.8% (10th highest)

Virginia ranks as a better state for women than most other states, despite many of its health and economic rankings roughly in line with U.S. figures. The state’s female life expectancy at birth is 81.3 years, compared to 81.2 years for all U.S. women. Virginia’s infant mortality rate of 5.8 deaths per 1,000 live births is just slightly higher than the U.S. rate, which is 5.6 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Though female workers in Virginia tend to have relatively high median annual wages, at over $52,000, the state has a relatively large gender wage gap. Women earn just 79.5% of what men do, compared to 82.3% nationwide.

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19. Illinois
> Female earnings as pct. of male earnings: 80.1% (20th lowest)
> Female life expectancy at birth: 81.3 years (22nd highest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 38.4% (11th highest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 41.1% (20th lowest)

Like many other states that rank toward the middle in conditions for women, Illinois has both positive and negative economic, health, and leadership indicators for female state residents. For instance, female workers in the state have a median annual earnings of $48,412 – more than $2,000 higher than the U.S. median. Yet this is just 80.1% of what men earn, a larger gender wage gap than in 30 other states.

Illinois has a relatively high share of legislative seats held by women, at 38.4%. Though this is well short of parity, it is still a higher share than in all but 10 other states. However, just 41.1% of management jobs in the state are held by women, compared to 41.4% of management jobs nationwide.

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20. Michigan
> Female earnings as pct. of male earnings: 80.6% (22nd lowest)
> Female life expectancy at birth: 80.1 years (14th lowest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 35.8% (12th highest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 41.8% (20th highest)

Women occupy a relatively high share of leadership jobs in Michigan, compared to many other states. The state is one of just 16 states in which more than a third of legislature seats are held by women, and one of 10 that have had more than one female governor in their history, Including the current Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Michigan also has a relatively high share of its management jobs held by women, at 41.8%.

Though female workers in Michigan have median annual earnings a few hundred dollars higher than the typical American female worker, the state has a larger gender pay gap than most others. American women earn about 82.3% of what men do. In Michigan, women earn just 80.6% of what men do.

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